Here we are, watching a raging pandemic on the rise. I wrote in my journal in Early February about a conversation, and I knew God wanted me to share it, but not immediately.
I feel today is the time He had me waiting for.....
I remember waking up that morning after facing recent days filled with questioning and no motivation. (Which I believe is good to get to that point, especially in ministry but it can be a horrid feeling). We need to take a step back and question God, evaluate our talents, and reconnect with our reason for going into full-time ministry. Even for the person not in full time ministry, but that is in a place or season where God has specifically placed you- it is GOOD to sit back and sort through these questions with our Maker. SO, this particular morning, I was coming out of what felt like I had hit a wall in ministry and in motherhood. I almost was only seeing my incapabilities to the point that I felt purposeless and nearly full of grief.
I questioned myself, God, my deaf and spotless Dalmatian, even the 2 parakeets that my son has in his bedroom that kiss each other uncontrollably.
I felt disconnected and I was questioning my talents and wondered if I was utilising my strengths in the right areas. Lord, where have I missed it? Where have I wronged you? With all this need in my face, where do I focus? I was almost dissapointed in myself and becoming angry.
So, I set out for a simple 4 mile run, under a weak but steady drizzle, and I felt myself seriously asking the Lord to give me the desire to run (something I have always loved) and to give me the endurance to do so (I was not feeling very strong). I stretched well, I hydrated well, I was ready to hustle. About every half a mile or so, I had to stop to stretch out my left hip. For years, I have had a weaker left hip and an issue with my left piriformis muscle. I know when to rest it, how to strengthen it, how to stretch it, and how to work through it. It is just something I have conditioned to manage to live with over the last several years. When I feel the pain and stiffness, I remember that I have a weakness in that left hip. On this particular morning, after the 4th time I had to stop, I was frustrated and impatient. I just wanted to keep moving and knocking out goals!
I stood there in the rain and began to talk out loud in English to the Lord. (Keep in mind, I live in a Brazilian-rural-farming- community where I already get weird looks because I am a lady out running- and here I was on the road side talking out loud in what is a foreign language to the locals) I might have been yelling, I tend to be aggressive at times. Men were there chopping away at the sugar cane, staring at this crazed white woman babbling in the rain. "Lord, please take the pain and weakness away so I don't have to keep stopping! Why do I have to feel this now? I want to push myself!"... I am pretty sure He interrupted me.... "Now Lindsey, if I did took that pain or corrected that weakened piriformis, you would not have stopped to enter into this conversation with me, now would you?"
Smirking to myself and then literally talking out loud on this back road in a language nobody around me can understand... "I see, I see now Lord..." I am pretty sure I smiled, even giggled, the whole way back home, even when I stopped to stretch out that pain.
...Then you can quit focusing on the handicap and begin appreciating the gift of His Power that you can depend and rely on (2 Cor. 12:9-10, MSG).
When confronted with these thorns in our flesh, we must hold onto God's response to Paul after he pleaded with the Lord to remove it... " Listen up, insert your name, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness". Through Paul being made aware of this thorn, he entered into a conversation with the Lord regarding it. Through that conversation, Paul learned about The Lord's grace being sufficient. Before that conversation, we can have shame, anger, maybe even depression, or fear.
BUT -----> Jesus steps in, and gently tells us "My Power is being perfected in your weakness". These thorns and weaknesses we have is to remind us of our absolute need to be dependent on Jesus. Without that dire dependancy- we fail.
.. and I need that reminder of my limitations so I never forget the need to enter into a Holy conversation with my Heavenly Father.
We need that reminder.
Otherwise, I keep on going on my own strength and will not enter into that holy conversation that fills up my depths more than anything that has ever existed.
What if with all our failures, weaknesses, limitations, and handicaps, we looked at them with appreciation that Jesus's strength enters through those circumstances like a door flinging wide open? Don't fight that weakness that God is revealing it to you, discuss it with Him, so that you can feel Him communicating with you, and then you can quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift of His Power that you can depend and rely on (2 Cor. 12:9-10, MSG).